What is accreditation?
Accreditation by the Commission and by other nationally recognized agencies provides assurance to the public, in particular to prospective students, that an institution has been found to meet the agency’s clearly stated requirements and criteria and that there are reasonable grounds for believing that it will continue to meet them.
What is the value of accreditation?
Accreditation provides both public certification of acceptable institutional quality and an opportunity and incentive for self-improvement in the accredited institution. The Commission reaches the conclusion that a college or university meets the Criteria only after the institution opens itself to outside examination by experienced evaluators familiar with accrediting requirements and with higher education. The process of accreditation provides the accredited institution with an opportunity for critical self-analysis leading to improvement in quality and for consultation and advice from persons from other institutions.
What is the difference between regional accreditation and state licensure?
While many states have established regulations that must be met before an educational institution may operate, in most states such regulations represent a minimum basis for protection of students. State authorization should not be confused with institutional or specialized accreditation. To operate legally, a college or university may need state authorization, but it does not necessarily have to be accredited by an institutional or specialized accrediting association. In fact, an institution must have the appropriate authorization by a state to operate before it can seek affiliation with the Commission.
Does accreditation include distance education courses and programs?
Yes. The Commission accredits many institutions that offer courses and programs through various methods of distance delivery. Since the Commission accredits institutions rather than individual programs, it does not maintain listings of such programs.
What is the difference between institutional accreditation and program accreditation?
Institutional accreditation speaks to the overall quality of the institutions without making judgments about specific programs. Institutional accreditation is accreditation of all programs, sites, and methods of delivery. The accreditation of individual programs, such as those preparing students to practice a profession, is carried out by specialized or program accrediting bodies that apply specific standards for curriculum and course content. The Commission does not maintain lists of programs offered by its accredited institutions. Each specialized accrediting body publishes a list of programs it accredits.
For further information about accreditation in the North Central region, write or call:
Higher Learning Commission
30 North LaSalle Street, Suite 2400
Chicago, Illinois 60602-2504
Phone: (800) 621-7440 or (312) 263-0456
Fax: (312) 263-7462